Why Identity Politics is the Antithesis of Freedom
"Identity politics, also called identitarian politics, are political arguments that focus upon the interest and perspectives of groups with which people identify. [...] Examples include social organizations based on race, class, religion, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, ideology, nationality, sexual orientation, culture, language [...]"
— definition from the Wikipedia article on Identity politics
Why Write About This?
Well, in case you had not noticed, various activist groups around the world (feminists, Black Lives Matter, etc.) base their ideology upon the concept of identity politics. This concerns me greatly, seeing as every collectivist ideology will eventually end up restricting the freedom of the individual.
The Collective and the Out-Group
Just like Marxism, ideologies based upon identitarian arguments are collectivist in nature — simply substitute "The Proletariat" with "Women", "Black People", "LGBTQ People" or some other social collective. Just as in Marxism, the collective is viewed as an oppressed class.
Allow me to quote one of my own posts:
"[A]s soon as a collective is formed, an "out-group" — consisting of those who reject the ideology of the collective — is created as well. The mere existence of said out-group will obviously pose a threat to the collective, which, in turn, will attempt to oppress or subvert it."
As mentioned above collectivist ideology is hegemonistic in nature and will systematically oppress its out-group until it is destroyed or assimilated into the collective.
Once again, an example of a collective could be "The Proletariat" and the corresponding out-group would then be "The Bourgeoisie" or something to that effect.
Another example of a collective could be "Feminists", and the out-group would be "Non-Feminists".
How come I wrote "Feminists" and not "Women"? Why did I write "Non-Feminists" and not "Men"? More on that below.
Ignoring the Agenda of the Individual
To answer the question posed above: Feminists often label their collective as "Women", simply because they presume to speak for all women. However, in reality, I find "Feminists" to be the more accurate description, since, obviously, not all women identify as such. Likewise, some men identify as feminists.
To use Marxist terminology once again, even though Marxists think of their collective as "The Proletariat", the collective, in reality, is "Marxists" — simply because they have no authority to speak for "The Proletariat".
This discrepancy is very important. The point is that — by only working to solve the perceived problems of the collective — feminists, Black Lives Matter-activists and the like effectively ignore the agenda of the individual. They infringe upon the freedom of the individual woman/black person/etc. by invalidating their agenda in favour of that of the colelctive. Within a collectivist ideology it is simply assumed that all members of the collective have the same interests and goals.
There is no place for indivual hopes, dreams struggles, thoughts, etc. Do not worry — Big Brother knows what is best for you!
Any ideology based upon a foundation of identitarian politics is the very antithesis of freedom because it
- is hegemonistic and therefore oppresses its out-group
- is collectivist and therefore ignores the agenda of the individual
Note: I want to clarify that I acknowledge the existence of, for instance, individualistic branches of feminism. When I use the term in this post, I refer to political feminism.